Month: June 2019

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Danny Boyle’s comedic fantasy “Yesterday,” from a script by Richard Curtis, is a high-concept film in the best possible way: its idea has such symbolic power that it renders the details of the action and the direction not quite superfluous but secondary. Which is to say, it’s the kind of film that, in its elevator-pitch version—a singer-songwriter awakens from an accident to discover that he’s the only person in the world who knows the Beatles and their songs—packs enough implications to seem like an ample experience in advance.

The musician, Jack Malik (Himesh Patel), a man in his late twenties, is of South Asian descent. He lives with his parents (Meera Syal and Sanjeev Bhaskar) in their modest family home in Suffolk, England; he formerly worked as a schoolteacher but gave up that full-time job to pursue a career in music. Now he lurches between low-paying and poorly attended solo gigs and takes a part-time job as a discount-store stock clerk. His manager, Ellie Appleton (Lily James), his lifelong friend, is currently a full-time math teacher who also works indefatigably to get him gigs (and drives him to and from them, since he has no license) while expressing confidence that he’ll ultimately be a musical success.

But, after yet another humiliating performance to a venue of empty seats, Jack decides to give up. He bicycles home at night, is distracted by a sudden blackout (it’s worldwide, and lasts twelve seconds), gets hit by a bus, wakes up in a hospital bed, bruised and bloodied—and, in the course of his recovery, finds that even his closest friends don’t get any of his Beatles references. Google kicks his “Beatles” search to “beetles,” and, when he sings one of the band’s songs for his friends, they enthuse about his songwriting, which gives him the idea to transcribe them from memory (since, of course, their albums have vanished from his collection) and perform them as his own.

Jack becomes a local success, and is interviewed on local television; Ed Sheeran (playing himself) happens to catch the show and invites Jack to open for him. Onstage for Ed’s Moscow concert, Jack becomes an instant sensation with “Back in the U.S.S.R.”; backstage, Ed defers to the newcomer, calling himself the Salieri to Jack’s Mozart. Then a Mephistophelian manager, Debra Hammer (Kate McKinnon), lures him to Los Angeles and takes control of his career with promises of wealth and stardom—and she quickly makes it happen, with a well-orchestrated series of moves ranging from recording sessions (Ed encourages him to turn “Hey, Jude” into “Hey, Dude”) to marketing meetings and online track drops and a concert for the album release. Yet the eternal devilry of romance gets in the way, and Jack, forced by circumstances to face the fraudulence of his fame, is, unsurprisingly, led to embrace the authenticity of love.

“Yesterday” is ultimately a romantic comedy, but a conceptually complex one, built on a peculiarly reactionary framework of private life and a culturally conservative pop classicism. The action begins with Ellie doing two jobs so that Jack can, essentially, do none—she steadfastly supports the artist in his creative, if unlucrative, endeavors. (Whatever her manager’s percentage of his earnings may be, it wouldn’t even pay for gasoline.) Yet, as a manager, Ellie isn’t given a chance to say much about the course of Jack’s career; she’s more of a factotum than a guide, and she doesn’t offer any suggestions as to what he might do to improve his work (which she enthuses about unconditionally) or his chances.

Hapless Jack is a virtual adult child, living with his parents, having no sex life or romantic relationship, unable to support himself (or, rather, unwilling to do so—his job as a teacher would have sufficed, as does Ellie’s), and the catalyst to his independence is his total dependence upon the work of others. What’s more, it’s only when he becomes rich and famous that he’s even able to consider his emotional life and the lives of others in his midst with any honesty and clarity. As a story about the deforming torment of failure and the liberating energy of success, “Yesterday” is radically immodest, brazen in its celebration of Jack’s acclaim on the (invisible) shoulders of giants and on the industry-standard marketing vulgarity and image manipulation on which that success depends. The movie is more than a celebration of a particular strain of musical history; it’s a celebration of back catalogue, of the genius of the system at large—and of the power of that system to create mighty classics that win mass adulation (indeed, to do so twice over).

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Yet “Yesterday” doesn’t at all address the question of what, besides the songs themselves, would be missing if the Beatles’ music were erased. The movie could have had bold fun imagining what wouldn’t have happened had the Beatles not existed and all that might have happened instead—whether the resulting relative poverty and stuntedness of the current musical scene or the blooming of other, currently overshadowed musical varieties—but Boyle and Curtis don’t seem willing to go out on such an extreme limb of fantasy, let alone historical analysis and critical imagination.

Nonetheless, what’s fascinating about the movie—and what stays in mind long after its soft-soap particulars and flimsy dramatics fade from view—is the notion of artists as archeologists, archivists, curators, and impresarios of lost or obscured historical treasures. No less than a movie by Quentin Tarantino, with its plethora of references flattering the knowledge and the tastes of critics, “Yesterday” is a movie built to gratify critics by praising what they can do: fight against cultural oblivion. The movie crystallizes the feeling that an obscure or forgotten body of work is the most important art in the world, and that it’s one’s personal mission to bring it the attention and the love that it deserves. Those who can’t do, curate.

The fear of cultural loss and the urge for restoration have unleashed huge conceptual swings on the part of other filmmakers of different talents and interests. In Michel Gondry’s “Be Kind Rewind,” from 2008, the concept of “sweded” movies—homemade versions of Hollywood films made by two video-store employees to replace an archive of erased tapes—is grander, giddier, and more enduring than any of the film’s dramatic specifics. The idea also inspired the greatest movie ever made, Jean-Luc Godard’s “King Lear,” a fantasy from 1987 in which the world’s great art has been lost as a result of Chernobyl. In an era when physical media are being supplanted by streaming, the prevalence of rock docs and anniversary celebrations evokes the sense of impending disaster and the shoring up of fragments against ruins. “Yesterday” is also a story of the failures of the system—a literal failure of the global grid that results in a colossal blank of cultural memory. Beneath its comedy, “Yesterday” is a horror film about a real-time disaster in the making.


28th Jun 2019

This week, Kim Kardashian West launched her latest brand – a range of shapewear called Kimono. While most of Kardashian West’s brands are some sort of reference to the mogul’s name (think Kimoji, KKW Beauty), the public was alarmed at the use of the word “kimono” which of course, is the name for a traditional Japanese garment.

Kardashian West has been forced to defend her new range of “shapewear and solutions” for women, which has been accused of misusing the term describing the Japanese item of dress dating back to the 16th century (as per the Victoria & Albert Museum – more on their involvement in this below). 

In a statement to The New York Times, Kardashian West said the name was meant to be a “a nod to the beauty and detail that goes into a garment.”

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As per The New York Times, her statement said she has no plans “to design or release any garments that would in any way resemble or dishonor the traditional garment.” 

However, the 38-year-old also told the outlet she has no plans to change the name of the brand, despite the strong reaction. “My solutionwear brand is built with inclusivity and diversity at its core and I’m incredibly proud of what’s to come,” she said. 

The hashtag #KimOhNo was doing the rounds on social media overnight. The New York Times pointed out one kimono designer with the handle @mariaria108_new who was among the social media users taking to Twitter to speak out on the issue.

Meanwhile, the Victoria & Albert Museum became an unlikely yet reliable contributor to the conversation, aptly describing how the kimono is an enduring symbol of Japanese culture. We’ll leave you with their thoughts on the matter below.


28th Jun 2019

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have officially announced they will be undertaking a royal tour to southern Africa in the UK autumn (Australia’s spring) this year. The royal couple have confirmed their baby son, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, will be accompanying them on the tour.

The couple made the official announcement on their Instagram account, @sussexroyal, posting a throwback picture of themselves from a previous event looking delighted and excited. The accompanying caption reflected that sentiment along with outlining which countries the couple will visit and the news that Archie will be going along. 

Read on for all the details to know about the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s 2019 tour to Africa.

Yes. Reports a royal tour to Africa was in the works surfaced in early June and the couple confirmed the rumours in the most modern way, by way of a post on Instagram (see below).


Yes. The couple’s Instagram tour announcement includes a very sweet sentence at the bottom confirming baby Archie will be travelling with his mum and dad to Africa. “This will be their first official tour as a family!”

According to the Instagram post they will visit South Africa together, with Prince Harry taking solo trips to Malawi, Angola and Botswana.

No exact date as yet, but per the social media post, it will be sometime in the UK autumn (Australia’s spring). Meghan Markle is reportedly returning from maternity leave in late September/early October, so the tour will presumably be sometime in October/November.

This timing appears to be a traditional time for royal tours to take place — in October 2018, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle embarked on their first major royal tour together since becoming husband and wife, visiting Australia, New Zealand, Tonga and Fiji.

Prince Harry’s brother, Prince William, and sister-in-law, Kate Middleton, are also reportedly set to undertake a royal tour of Asia in the UK autumn of this year.

Much has been made about Meghan Markle’s influential style and her royal tour wardrobe last year proved the important role fashion plays in a royal tour. Markle wore a number of local Australian and New Zealand designers on the 2018 royal tour, catapulting those designers and brands onto the global fashion stage. 

Markle’s tour wardrobe for this tour is set to be another noteworthy entry into the fashion history books.

Prince Harry has long had a place in his heart for Africa and the couple also have a very special connection to the region. 

Prince Harry’s beloved late mum, Princess Diana, was a passionate supporter of the land clearing organization, HALO Trust, and visited Angola in this capacity just prior to her death. According to Vanity Fair Prince Harry is on a “mission” to continue Princess Diana’s work with the organisation and visited Angola in 2013 to learn about the organisation’s work. Per the official announcement on Instagram, he will again visit Angola on this trip.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle spent time in Botswana when they were first falling in love, getting to know each other without the prying long lenses of the paparazzi. In a touching nod to the place they fell in love, Prince Harry sourced a number of diamonds in Meghan Markle’s engagement ring from the country.

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One of the most useful developments in streaming has been the launch of Kanopy, which makes a wide variety of movies available to many holders of library cards or student I.D.s. But, as Chris Cagle explained in Film Quarterly in May, there’s no such thing as a free movie, and the pricing structure of Kanopy (which charges libraries for their patrons’ viewing) turns out to be onerous for many institutions. Some have placed restrictions on the use of the service; last week, the New York Public Library announced that, as of July 1st, Kanopy would no longer be available to its members. So this weekend is the last call in the city, and it’s worth mentioning a few favorites that aren’t easy to find elsewhere:

Time Regained,” Raúl Ruiz’s 1999 adaptation of chunks of Marcel Proust’s masterwork, is one of the rare adaptations of a great novel that doesn’t feel like cinematic taxidermy. Ruiz, who’s one of the great directorial fantasists, relies on hallucinatory effects to evoke shifts in time, intimate imaginings, and literary creation. He makes the aged Proust a character and embeds the writing of the novel into the action that it describes—and the inner life that it captures. With a mighty cast that includes Catherine Deneuve, her daughter Chiara Mastroianni, John Malkovich, Emmanuelle Béart, and Édith Scob (who died on Wednesday, at the age of eighty-one), and a dazzlingly elaborate and intricately detailed array of sets and costumes, Ruiz pulls decades of history into the present tense.

It’s depressing to note that “Old Boyfriends,” from 1979, is the only feature film directed by Joan Tewkesbury, who went on to direct TV movies and episodes. Written by the brothers Paul and Leonard Schrader, it is an extraordinary début, a drama of pain and bitter memory that’s nonetheless perched uneasily on the edge of comedy. Talia Shire plays Dianne Cruise, a professor whose husband committed suicide; living alone now, she travels the country to track down former lovers (the cast includes John Belushi and Keith Carradine) and re-seduce them as a part of her planned emotional revenge. Tewkesbury lends the action a mournful tone and a sly pace, yet doesn’t stint on behavioral peculiarities and absurdities; the film’s blend of present and past, of forthright calculation and grief-stricken reminiscence, has a Hitchcockian depth of melodramatic mystery.

Bill Gunn, the director of “Ganja and Hess,” made another feature, “Personal Problems,” in 1980, which wasn’t released in his lifetime. (He died in 1989.) Using the format of a soap opera (and shot on videotape), the film is centered on the intertwined romantic, financial, professional, and familial complications of a wide-ranging group of middle-class black people in New York. Gunn, working with the writer Ishmael Reed, imbues the details of their lives with the force of history and a wide, awful spectrum of political and legal dangers; the copious and free-flowing dialogue meshes with cityscapes to invoke a depth of black American experience that the cinema had hardly begun to face.

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If I had to pick one movie to display the grandeur, complexity, and vast imaginative scope of the silent cinema, it would be F. W. Murnau’s “The Last Laugh,” from 1924. It stars a titanic yet exquisitely subtle actor, Emil Jannings, as the proud and pompous head doorman at a luxurious Berlin hotel. He’s showing signs of age—he now struggles with heavy trunks—and is unceremoniously demoted to bathroom attendant, but he can’t admit as much to his family and his neighbors. Murnau develops broad and complex views of the luminous city by way of wondrous technical trickery; his camera roves far and wide with the emotionally shattered working man as he roams the streets and the hotel corridors. The housing complex where he lives is as much a web of torment and fantasy as is his workplace; Murnau gets into his mind, into his very soul, while at the same time evoking the web of social codes and formalities that shape and deform behavior. The movie also has one of the most politically defiant, riotously revolutionary of endings.

When Film Forum reopened last summer, with a retrospective of the films of Jacques Becker, New York viewers were treated to a new set of instantly recognized classics, one of which, “Touchez Pas au Grisbi,” from 1954, is among the most original and romantic of gangster movies. The title means “Hands Off the Loot,” which belongs to a pair of longtime partners in crime, Max (Jean Gabin) and Riton (René Dary), whose recent haul of gold ingots is meant to finance their retirement. The movie’s melancholy tone is centered on the signs of aging; unlike the doorman in “The Last Laugh,” Max knows well that he’s past his prime and is happy to bow out gracefully; but, when others get hold of the loot, he and Riton have to pull one last job, with doom in the air. Becker, a deeply rooted Parisian, revels in the fine points and grim demands of the underworld; his complex and brutal vision of crime is matched by an aching tenderness for the friendships that it forges.

As the first Democratic debates of the 2020 campaign ended Thursday night, in a Miami theatre, President Donald Trump walked into the official photograph of the G-20 summit of world leaders, in Osaka, Japan. Strolling alongside him was the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, who, hours earlier, had declared Western-style liberalism dead and “no longer tenable” in an interview released by the Financial Times. They were smiling and chatting. Soon Trump took his place in the front row, where he stood in between Prince Mohammed bin Salman, of Saudi Arabia, who was beaming, and a more sober-looking President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, of Turkey. On Friday and Saturday, the President was scheduled to have private sessions with all three of them, and also with the tough-guy nationalist leaders of Brazil, China, and India.

For previous American Presidents, this would have been an opportunity to act on the world stage as its leader, to project superpower might and stand up for human rights and international ideals, all while exposing the domestic rivals back home as petty partisans. Not for Trump. The President who delights in tweaking allies while admiring adversaries, who sucks up to dictators as he demeans partners, seemed to want to insure that his summit in Japan would emphasize not statesmanship so much as in-your-facemanship.

Trump went out of his way to display his particular brand of undiplomatic diplomacy as he left for Osaka and embarked on a long night of tweeting over the Pacific. Speaking to reporters as he left for Air Force One, the President let loose at an array of those who angered him at that moment, including: his Japanese hosts (it’s so unfair, he told reporters, that Americans should have to defend Japan if it’s attacked and suffers through “World War Three,” while the Japanese would do nothing for Americans in a war except watch “on a Sony television”); his German allies (that NATO defense-spending again); the chairman of the Federal Reserve (I can fire him, Trump asserted); and even the U.S. women’s soccer team (one of whose stars said that there was no bleeping way she was going to the White House to meet Trump).

The President had no such harsh words for Putin or Erdoğan or the Saudi prince known as M.B.S., despite the fact that a U.N. report had just found credible evidence of his involvement in the gruesome killing and dismemberment of Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist. Quite the opposite, in fact. When a reporter asked Trump what he planned to discuss with Putin in their first meeting since the Mueller report found that Moscow had interfered in the 2016 U.S. elections on Trump’s behalf in a “sweeping and systematic fashion,” the President retorted that it was “none of your business.” On Friday, when Trump finally met Putin, he began the meeting in Osaka by joking with Putin about the 2016 election hacking. When asked if he would tell the Russian President not to interfere again in 2020, Trump seemed almost playful, wagging his finger at Putin. “Don’t meddle in the election, please,” Trump said. The rest of the exchange was all pleasantries, including a mutual laugh about “fake news” as reporters were ushered out of the room. Later, Russian news outlets reported that Trump had responded “positively” to Putin’s invitation to come to Moscow next year for a parade. It was left to Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council, to issue a stern rebuttal to Putin, defending Western liberalism and tweeting that it was Putin-style “authoritarianism, personality cults, and the rule of oligarchs” that was “really obsolete.”

The President’s outing in Osaka did not go unnoticed in Miami, where Democrats saw the split-screen news coverage of Trump being Trump overseas during their debate as a possibly winning moment. Senator Michael Bennet, of Colorado, made a point of mentioning the President’s pre-Osaka rant in answering the sole question in Thursday night’s debate that was devoted to foreign policy, a question to which he, like most of the others who answered it, responded by promising to “restore the relationships that he’s destroyed with our allies.” In the course of two nights and four hours of debate among the twenty Democratic candidates, there was certainly consensus about the damage Trump has done to America’s standing in the world. There was, however, little sense of how these candidates might exercise renewed American leadership at a time of Trumpian disruption and emboldened autocrats.

Two candidates, Senator Kamala Harris, of California, on Thursday night, and Governor Jay Inslee, of Washington, on Wednesday night, made a point of calling Trump the greatest national-security threat that America faces. But if that is actually the case, then Democrats as a group had little specific to say about it, nor were they pressed to do so by the five NBC moderators. Sure, they professed concern about global climate change and (with the exception of Senator Cory Booker) promised to return to the Iran nuclear deal that Trump unilaterally withdrew from. It was hard to discern, however, what kind of world view the candidates were offering, or how they would differentiate themselves from a President who has chosen a course of “America First,” America alone.

Former Vice-President Joe Biden’s message was restoration; others presented themselves as the incarnation of generational renewal (Pete Buttigieg), American-style socialism (Bernie Sanders), or, in the case of Thursday’s hands-down winner, the former California Attorney General Harris, prosecutorial cleansing. Uniting these different pitches was the idea of American democracy itself in need of restoration and renewal. The crisis that the debates were speaking to is the one inside the United States. The world, perhaps for understandable reasons, will have to wait for its moment on the American debate stage. Vladimir Putin, meanwhile, is proclaiming that Western liberalism and decadent “multiculturalism” have had their day. On this, for now, official America is silent.

At least the candidates were talking about Trump on Thursday, even if they were not entirely clear on how they would handle him. During the first night of the Democratic debates, Trump was, as the Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson put it on MSNBC, the Lord Voldemort of the debate, not spoken of, although his shadowy presence loomed large. All told, Trump was only mentioned about twenty times over the course of the first two-hour debate, much to the dismay of anti-Trump independents and Democratic moderates looking for a candidate who will prioritize defeating the President over inter-party policy squabbles. Polls have shown, as a recent Gallup survey did, that fifty-eight per cent of Democrats would prefer to focus on electability over ideology.

On Wednesday, the candidates seemed to believe that the debate was an either/or proposition: either take on Trump or talk about policy. Given that they were onstage with Senator Elizabeth (I Have a Plan for That) Warren, they opted for wonkery that seemed at times oddly disconnected from the President who has generated, or exacerbated, so many of the crises they described. On Thursday, the candidates looked and sounded much more sure of themselves, and virtually all of them had no trouble talking both Trump and policy. The Democrats skewed just as left, but they did so in a way that better acknowledged this strange moment of migrant children locked up in cages and Presidential love letters to the keeper of the North Korean gulag.

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Even the most out-there candidate, the wellness guru Marianne Williamson, proclaimed that the overriding goal was defeating Trump. Sanders, the most ideological of the twenty, was coldly realistic when he noted that even he, the self-proclaimed socialist, is leading Trump in polls by ten points. “The American people understand,” Sanders said, that Trump is a “phony,” “a pathological liar,” and a “racist” who “lied to the American people” during the last campaign. “That’s how we beat Trump,” Sanders said. “We expose him for the fraud that he is.”

Trump and his Republicans, though, think that the debates were good news for the President. First of all, Biden, the Democrats’ rabidly anti-Trump front-runner, faltered, was taken down by a combination of his failure to respond sharply and a withering and highly personal attack by Harris, who castigated the former Vice-President for his failures in the desegregation fights of the nineteen-seventies that she lived through, as a young African-American child who was forced onto a school bus. Other candidates piled on, too, pointing out Biden’s vote for the 2003 Iraq War and making him squirm to defend the former President Barack Obama’s immigration policy. “Harris,” the Biden campaign said, in a statement after the debate, “is doing exactly what Trump wants.”

Even more than Biden’s perhaps predictable stumbles, however, the Republicans were focussed on the leftward tilt of the Democratic-policy proposals that was evident in both nights’ debates. Tom Cotton, the Republican senator from Arkansas, summed up their analysis in a tweet on Friday morning: “Democrats will take away your health insurance yet make you pay for health care for illegal aliens, whose illegal border crossing they will decriminalize, all while not deporting anyone (no matter how recently arrived) unless convicted of a serious felony.” Expect to see versions of this soon on television attack ads.

Trump appeared delighted with this, as well, interrupting one of his meetings in Osaka to chime in. Sitting with Brazil’s controversial new right-wing populist President, Jair Bolsonaro (who opened his own statement by supporting Trump’s reëlection), Trump switched the subject to the Democrats. “There’s a rumor the Democrats are going to change the name of the party from the ‘Democrat Party’ to the ‘Socialist Party,’ ” he said. “I’m hearing that.”

Trump, of course, will not be so lucky, but it won’t be for lack of Republicans trying. The G.O.P. has already decided to run against Democrats in 2020, not by defending Trump’s often indefensible conduct but by labelling his opponent, whoever he or she is, as a socialist. During two nights in Miami, there was plenty to feed that narrative. Politically unrealistic ideas, such as universal government-funded health care, a dream that the American left has held for decades, received plenty of airtime in the first debates of possibly the most consequential election of our lifetimes. The crisis of the West, not so much, which is too bad, because America’s crisis is a global one, too.

The annual TV Week Logie Awards are back for another year, with the awards set to take place on June 30 at The Star Gold Coast.

As one of Australia’s most important long-running red carpet events, it has a history of glamorous women walking down the red carpet in iconic looks. Actresses such as Oscar-nominated Margot Robbie and Sophie Monk have both graced the crimson carpet in dresses we will never forget.

Ahead of this year’s red carpet, we take a look back at what the A-list Australian celebrities and a number of international names have worn over the years so we can re-live those memorable moments. Every year we have been wowed by the different looks on the red carpet and it’s important to be ready for this year’s red carpet.

Rewinding back to 2002, Sophie Monk rocked the red carpet in classic noughties style, wearing low-rise white flares and a handkerchief-tie top.

In 2005, Bec Hewitt stunned the crowd in a multi-coloured halterneck maxi dress which showed off her Aussie beach babe look to the crowd.

Before she was an Oscar nominee, Margot Robbie wowed the crowd with her 2009 TV Week Logies red carpet appearance. The actress donned an iconic strapless black and orange dress with an asymmetrical hemline (see above) paired with black stilettos.

In the same year, , Ruby Rose, appeared in a black edgy textured dress that swept the floor with a long feathered train.

In 2011, an iconic moment to remember was when American singer, Katy Perry, took to the stage to perform . Her red carpet outfit was also one to remember, the singer wore a green Jean-Charles de Castelbajac dress with puff sleeves. Katy paired this with black tights, a bold red lip and electric blue pumps.

Australian beauty queen, Jennifer Hawkins, strutted down the red carpet in 2013 in a gorgeous black sparkly halterneck and beautifully tamed high bun, marking a truly memorable moment.

The Minogue sisters have attended the event on numerous occasions but two appearances stand out; in 2014 Kylie wore a show-stopping strapless cream Roberto Cavalli gown which left everyone speechless. Three years after, in 2017, Dannii stole the spotlight in a one-shoulder purple shimmering gown with thigh-high slit.

In a fairy tale bridal moment, Delta Goodrem took to the red carpet in 2016 in a white lace dress replete with long mesh sleeves and a train, leaving fans speechless.

Destiny Child’s Kelly Rowland made her way down the carpet in 2018 and definitely made a statement in a strapless silver gown.

Scroll down to see the most iconic looks from the TV Week Logie Awards.

Sophie Monk, 2002

Bec Hewitt, 2005

Ruby Rose, 2009

Katy Perry, 2011

Jennifer Hawkins, 2013

Kylie Minogue, 2014

Dannii Minogue, 2017

Delta Goodrem, 2016

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One of the main weaknesses of the standard Presidential-debate format in American politics is that it can be extraordinarily hard to delve deeply into any particular issue. Format aside, of course, it is often not in the interest of the candidates to do so. Yet, Thursday night’s debate featured a surprisingly robust discussion of the policy at the heart of the divide within the Democratic Party today: Medicare for All. It began with a question from Savannah Guthrie to Bernie Sanders, about whether he would raise taxes on the middle class to pay for his policy agenda, which of course includes Medicare for All.

“We have a new vision for America,” he responded. “And, at a time when we have three people in this country owning more wealth than the bottom half of America, while five hundred thousand are sleeping out on the streets today, we think it is time for a change. Real change. And, by that, I mean that health care, in my view, is a human right, and we have got to pass a Medicare for All, single-payer system. Under that system, by the way, the vast majority of the people in this country will be paying significantly less for health care than they are right now.”

Guthrie repeated her initial question: Would he increase taxes on the middle class or not?

“People who have health care under Medicare for All will have no premiums, no deductibles, no co-pays, no out-of-pocket expenses,” he explained. “Yes, they will pay more in taxes but less in health care for what they get.”

For some time now, surveys have shown strong support for Medicare for All, not just among Democrats but among the general electorate. But a recent survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation found considerable confusion about what the policy entails. They found that, although fifty-six per cent of Americans were supportive of “a national health plan, sometimes called Medicare-for-all, in which all Americans would get their insurance from a single government plan,” sixty per cent would oppose such a plan if it raised taxes for most Americans. Kaiser also found that fifty-eight per cent of Americans would oppose Medicare for All if it eliminated most private insurance, which Sanders’s plan would essentially ban. In fact, sixty-seven per cent of those who said they supported Medicare for All also said they believed that such a plan would allow them to keep their current insurance, which would not be the case for those with private insurance under Sanders’s plan.

The plan that most Americans appear to actually support is an optional Medicare or Medicaid buy-in, which, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, is about twenty points more popular than Medicare for All among Americans. These are the options favored by the candidates who are looking to establish themselves as moderates in the Democratic race, including Michael Bennet, who was also on the debate stage last night.

“Health care is a right,” he said. “We need to get to universal health care. I believe the way to do that is to finish what we started with Obamacare,” by creating a public option that families can choose over private offerings. For those who choose the public option, Bennet said, it “would be like Medicare for All.”

A bit later, Pete Buttigieg agreed. “Look, everybody who says ‘Medicare for All,’ every person in politics who allows that phrase to escape their lips, has a responsibility to explain how you’re actually supposed to get from here to there,” he said to applause. “Here’s how I would do it. I would call it Medicare for All who want it. You take something like Medicare, a flavor of that, and make it available on the exchanges. People can buy in, and then, if people like us are right, then that will be not only be a more inclusive plan but a more efficient plan than any of the corporate answers out there.”

The debate stage also included Joe Biden, a representative of the Administration that built the health-care exchanges. “The fact of the matter is that the quickest, fastest way to do it is build on Obamacare, to build on what we did,” Biden said. “And, secondly, to make sure that everyone does have an option. Everyone, whether they have private insurance or employer insurance, or no insurance, they could, in fact, buy into the exchange to a Medicare-like plan.”

Sanders wasn’t having any of this. “I find it hard to believe,” he said, “that every major country on earth, including my neighbor fifty miles north of me, Canada, somehow has figured out a way to provide health care to every man and woman and child, and in most cases they’re spending fifty per cent per capita what we are spending. Let’s be clear—let us be very clear—the function of health care today, from the insurance and drug company perspective, is not to provide quality care to all in a cost-effective way. The function of the health-care system today is to make billions in profits for the insurance companies.”

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Sanders’s case for his maximalist vision of universal health care—an insurance system unlike any other in the world, that is totally public, totally free of premiums, free of deductibles, and free at the point of service—has always been primarily a moral case. It might be less expensive to implement a buy-in plan that retains private insurance. But Sanders firmly believes and argues that health insurance should not be a for-profit business at all. And he is betting that Americans will be willing to trade their current insurance plans for the security of knowing that their health care will be entirely free and that they won’t ever have to switch plans again.

It’s unclear if, after several more months of public discussion about the details of his plan, voters will see things as simply Sanders does. But his persistence, and the resonance that his vision has had with Party progressives and activists, have already moved the Party and the rest of the field in his direction, both substantively and rhetorically. Even those who don’t support Sanders’s plan in full have taken to calling their positions Medicare for All or something similar. During Wednesday’s debate, Elizabeth Warren said straightforwardly for the first time that she, like Sanders, would eliminate private insurance to establish Medicare for All.

During Thursday night’s debate, Lester Holt asked all the candidates whether they would do the same. Only two raised their hands—Sanders and, surprisingly, Kamala Harris, who expressed support for eliminating private insurance in a CNN town hall, in January, only to walk back her comments shortly afterward. In her remarks Thursday, however, she seemed to give a stirring defense of Sanders’s position.

“The reality of how this affects real people is captured in a story that many of us have heard and that I will paraphrase,” she said. “Any night in America, a parent who’s seeing that their child has a temperature that is out of control calls 911—‘What should I do?’ And they say, ‘Take the child to the emergency room.’ And so they get in their car, and they drive, and they’re sitting in the parking lot outside of the emergency room looking at those sliding glass doors, while they have the hand on the forehead of their child, knowing that if they walk through those sliding glass doors, even though they have insurance, they will be out a five-thousand-dollar deductible, five thousand dollars if they walk through those doors. That’s what insurance companies are doing!”

But, after the debate, Harris and her team told reporters that she did not support eliminating private insurance, and that she had believed Holt was asking whether candidates would support, in their own personal lives, trading private insurance for government insurance—a bizarre misreading of a straightforward and important question that had been asked of the candidates the night before, and repeatedly on the campaign trail. Harris’s vacillations seem indicative of the risks for candidates who are looking to match Sanders’s clarity of rhetoric, without a full commitment to substance. It is another example, too, of how Sanders has forced the candidates to establish policy distinctions among themselves in a race that could have easily been focussed entirely on the evils of Donald Trump. Democratic voters clearly expect more. Whether they will come to demand as much as Sanders is offering remains to be seen.


28th Jun 2019

Following hot on the heels of collaborations with H&M and Nike, the team behind are at it again with a capsule collection with Levi’s. For season three of the show, Levi’s worked directly with the wardrobe team behind to give the cast their quintessential ‘80s-style looks. 

The capsule collection gives fans an opportunity to wear some of the same throwback looks they’ll see on the show. An Aztec print shirt worn by Eleven and a graphic “Camp Know Where” ringer tee with matching trucker cap worn by Dustin are among the looks available for purchase. Other standouts from the collection are the signature college-inspired crewneck jumpers branded with “Eleven” and “Stranger Things”. The entire collection is an homage to 1985, the year season three is set, and will include items for both men and women.  [ inbox]

L’Oréal Paris have announced an exclusive collaboration with the late fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld. The two powerhouse brands have connected to create a collection of products that infuse the late designer’s iconic style with Parisian elegance. With the passing of Lagerfeld in February, this collection will honour his memory by dropping a global release during Paris Fashion Week and the campaign will feature some of Lagerfeld’s most iconic quotes. The Karl Lagerfeld x L’Oréal Paris make-up collection will be available in Australia and launch at Priceline. [ inbox]

Net-A-Porter launches an invitation-only online luxury shopping event, EIP Prive. EIP Prive gives Net-A-Porter customers the opportunity to peruse the world’s most exclusive jewellery and watch collections including Boehmer et Bassange, Piaget and Giampiero Bodino. With the help of a personal shopper to inspire and delight, Net-A-Porter customers will be taken on a one-of-a-kind shopping experience. Further expansions into watches and men’s collections are planned for later this year. [ inbox]

L’Officine Universelle Buly has collaborated with The Louvre in Paris to invite eight of the world’s leading perfumers to develop fragrances inspired by famous works of art. The fragrances will be infused in perfumes, candles and soaps and the entire collaboration will be presented in a beautiful 19th century travel kiosk within the museum. The products curated for this limited-edition collection will be sold exclusively through The Louvre, either at the museum or online, and at L’Officine Universelle Buly boutiques. [ inbox]

Ralph Lauren will open its first Polo Ralph Lauren women’s store in Sydney this July. The new location will be in the iconic Queen Victoria Building, an elegant location for the classic American brand. This will be the first store location dedicated to Polo womenswear collections, and will be the first of five new store openings for Ralph Lauren scheduled for Australia this year. Queensland, Victoria, and Canberra will all host new Ralph Lauren stores. The new locations mark a continuance of Ralph Lauren’s expansion around the world. [ inbox]

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